144 VERDICT OX I
in order to obtain a true picture of their practices it is necessary
to feign not only interest but active sympathy. The least sign of
adverse criticism is likely to make them shut up like oysters. And
so one is obliged to murmur "splendid!" when, all the time it
would have been easier to shoutc shame!'
As it is, there will probably be no need for us to speak at all;
the professors see to that. As we go round the building a cease-
less torrent of words pour from their eager lips—words in which
they claim that Ayurveda is capable of almost any miracle short
of raising the dead from the grave—and they come pretty near
to claiming that /
3Ieamvhile we are being loaded with wreaths of flowers. These
will be presented by successive batches of students whom we visit
in their lecture rooms. As we enter each room several students
spring to their feet, and burst into a song of welcome, at the end
of which they hang a wreath round our necks. We feel we are
playing the role of Judas, and would willingly have foregone the
flowers, particularly as they prove to be full of insects which crawl
down the spine. However, it is too late to turn back now.
The perpetual patter of mumbo-jumbo shows no signs of stop-
ping. Ayurveda, they are saying, possesses the supreme remedies
"for the heart*.. /for the blood'.. /for the brain,' etc., etc., all
somewhat vague, to put it mildly. If the student attempts to
infuse a little reality into the conversation, the following is the
sort of dialogue we may expect:
'Have you a cure for diabetes ??
*Does it bear any resemblaB.ee to insulin ?'
*Is it as effective as insulin ?'
* Is it at all effective?'